A five-year-old child was shopping with her mother in a major department store. While riding the escalator to the third floor, the child’s rubber sandal became entrapped between the moving stairs. The sandal pulled the child’s Hallux (big toe) into the gap near the side of the steps, completely severing it. There was no guard between the side of the escalator and the hand rail, which created a three-quarter-inch gap. As a result of this incident, the child was hospitalized and required months of rehabilitation.
Expert Witness Response
The American Society for Mechanical Engineers or ASME sets the safety standards for elevators and escalators. ASME A-17, section 6 specifically deals with the standards that must adhered to when installing an escalator including the requirement that a guard be implemented on the side of the stairs. This store failed to meet these safety standards. Children run a greater risk of injury on an escalator and proper maintenance is required to ensure a safe environment for all riders, especially young children.
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